Sunday, January 04, 2015

Forbidden Pilgrimage

This is a very interesting documentary from Al Jazeera about Christians who live in the Holy Land.

It’s a perspective that we don’t often see. First, because most of them belong to the Orthodox and Catholic churches and North American Christian media is dominated by Evangelicals who rarely report on churches outside their own fellowship. And secondly, and perhaps most importantly, because the Christians of the Holy Land are Arabs.

I’ve gone through this before, but the Palestinians are not migrants to the Holy Land. They are descended from the Jews and the inhabitants of Judah, Samaria, and Galilee. For more than a thousand years Arabs dominated the land and the inhabitants gradually adopted the language and customs of the Arabs. This was done by Jews and Christians as well as those who became Muslims.

In the Middle Ages, particularly in the 11th century, many Jews and Christians were forced to become Muslims—this is the origin of the Palestinian people—but many of the Jews had already converted to Christianity, both under the rule of the Christian Byzantine Empire and simple conversion before that.

The Christians in the video represent a direct communal link to the church of the New Testament.

NOTE: The documentary incorrectly identifies the Christians of Nazareth as Palestinians, but they are Arab Israelis (not that their citizenship makes life any easier for them).